By | October 10, 2012 134 Comments

Revisiting prevailing myths about sociopaths

 As I work with partners and other victims of sociopaths, I see regularly the persistence of certain myths about these destructive individuals.

These myths can retard the process by which partners fully recognize the sociopath for who he is. They can protect him by supporting his “mask” or, at the very least, supporting the “rationalizations” his partners and victims sometimes use to “cut him the slack” he surely doesn’t deserve.

For instance, commonly I hear the position, “Well, he’s not always like this. He doesn’t always act like this.” This supports the notion that sociopaths are continuously flaunting their disorder. But this just isn’t the case.

To begin with, we know that many sociopaths are very skilled at “masking” their particular psychopathology. So it’s perfectly “normal” for them to appear, well, generally “normal.” Yet I can’t tell you how many people I work with who want desperately to see the sociopath’s seeming capacity to behave normally as “contra-indicative” of his sociopathy.

But let’s remember that even hardcore alcoholics aren’t drinking 24/7. The worst domestic abusers aren’t abusing 24/7. There are few individuals who are making 24/7 blatant displays of their psychopathology. Everyone goes “underground” for periods of time with the more florid symptoms of their disturbances, during which it’s tempting to wish, to believe, that perhaps the “underground individual” is the “real individual.”

And so the sociopath will not continually be making a display of his personality disturbance. He is more likely to “expose” himself  from time to time, if not regularly. Finally, it is much more the capacity, than frequency, with which he can be so baldly, blithely transgressive of others’ boundaries that characterizes the essence of his disorder. In a word, he will not always be “acting sociopathic.”

There is also the somewhat persisting notion that sociopaths are violent, whereas many aren’t. True, they are always “violent” insofar as, inevitably, they will violate others’ dignity, but many sociopaths aren’t physically violent, and others aren’t even necessarily blatantly emotionally abusive.

Many sociopaths are just inherently dishonest, deceptive individuals who can lie through their teeth without compunction as they scheme to take what they want from others. I’ve discussed this before—the essence of the sociopath’s orientation as lying in the bizarre, creepy comfort he feels taking what he wants from others, however unentitled he is to it, and with shocking heedlessness of the damage his “taking” will cause those whom he’s transgressing.

So don’t be fooled, necessarily, by the absence of blatant displays of violence, or even conventional exhibitions of emotional abusiveness, although sociopaths are often highly prone to exhibiting these and other forms of abuse. But not all do, and certainly not all the time, facts which in no way disqualify their sociopathy.

I sometimes see still, and quite often, an individual’s difficulty reconciling her partner’s high intellectual capacity with his sociopathy. Although it’s a fallacy that most sociopaths are especially bright, or brighter than non-sociopaths, yet many find it almost inconceivable that their “bright,” even intellectually “brilliant” partners can, in fact, be truly sociopathic.

Yet we know that sociopathy isn’t an “intellectual disorder.”

We know, in fact, that to be a diagnosed sociopath the intellect must really be somewhat established, for we would suspect that an intellectually deficient individual might plausibly explain his antisocial behaviors on his intellectual deficiencies. Sociopaths, then, must be intellectually sound to be considered sociopaths.

Yet the prevailing myth goes something like this: if one is intelligent, as the sociopath may be, then he ought to be intelligent enough to realize that his sociopathy is outrageous and unacceptable; and thus, rationally speaking, he should want (and be willing) to retire his sociopathic shenanigans.

The danger here, which I see often, is that partners of sociopaths hold to the prayer that, in the end, their partners will, in fact, be “smart” enough to see how “stupidly” and destructively they are acting. Their intellects, the non-sociopathic partner desperately hopes, will (and should) eventually supercede their sociopathy. Not going to happen. Ever.

I see another prevailing myth that takes the form of this ongoing bafflement and protest from the sociopath’s partner: “It makes no sense. His behavior makes no sense. He can be so delightful and reasonable one day, and then there’s this ”˜other side’ to him.”

The idea here relates to the first myth: if he can be normal sometimes, he should be capable of being “normal” all the time. But it’s the “it makes no sense” reaction that dangerously keeps so many partners tethered to their sociopathic partners.

Because it really does “make sense;” it just doesn’t “make the sense” you want it to make. It makes sense because this is what sociopaths are. This is what they do. This is how they act. This is how they think. You want to believe otherwise. You want their aberrant behaviors and attitudes explained in such a way that it would “make so much sense” that YOU could personally relate to it.

But it will NEVER “make sense” on this level. You are not a sociopath. And so it will never “make sense” on the level you want it to. But you must stop insisting it make sense on this level, or you risk using this as a rationalization to stay with the sociopath until it “makes sense.”

I stress: everything your sociopathic partner does makes absolute sense, but only when you are willing to recognize he’s a sociopath.


It only fails to “make sense” when you fight what he is, when you resist calling him what he is—a sociopath.


More to come soon on this, and other, subjects.



(This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Steve Becker, LCSW. My use of male gender pronouns is strictly for convenience’s sake and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the attitudes and behaviors discussed.)





Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
Notify of

Hi Steve,
I appreciate your article. However… I’m sure everyone on here knows what I’m going to say before I say it.

I really would appreciate it if you would stop exclusively using the male gender when you’re referring to sociopaths, psychopaths, and other disordered individuals. Your disclaimer:

My use of male gender pronouns is strictly for convenience’s sake and not to suggest that females aren’t capable of the attitudes and behaviors discussed.

is at the end of the fine print. Only geeks like me ever get to it I’m sure.

That means that you are contributing to the erroneous, and needlessly divisive, belief that psychopathy and sociopathy are largely male disorders. Many stories here prove that nothing could be further from the truth. However, writing this way – and I read many blogs from survivors that are similarly written – empowers disordered people on both sides of the gendered divide. It improperly models to women that they can talk about ‘men’, or ‘all males’ casually as if they’re all budding sociopaths. And the online conversations that result have the effect of discouraging men, and women who’ve been victimized primarily by women, from speaking up because they have to battle this perception before they can ever wade in to talk about their own experiences. The one-sided ‘conversation’, and sometimes rants, that result provide fuel to the male bigots against women, and appear to prove their diatribes and assertions that it’s ALL women, not just disordered women, who are like that.

So really, would it hurt to throw in the odd “she” when describing the disordered person once in a while? It’s not so hard to do, and you have lots of options available: “she” alternating with “he”; “he or she”; “she or he”; s/he. See? Not so hard.

IMO, one of the biggest prevailing myths about sociopaths we need to refute is that they’re exclusively, or even predominately, men.

what an absolutely right on article.

What you said, may seem like it is obvious from a clinical standpoint, but when you are in a relationshit with the spaths, your cog/dis kicks in and its difficult to stay with the idea that this person does not have the same wiring that you do. So it is really important to keep reminding ourselves.

Annie is right, about the gender reference, although I’m guilty of the same thing you did. Just goes to show that it takes enormous mental discipline to even discuss them.

Ox Drover

Steve this is one of THE BEST articles you or anyone else has written here on LoveFraud….those MYTHS persist.

I laugh sometimes when I think of TED BUNDY and how CHARMING he was–well, when he was not torturing, raping and killing women that is.

Look at another more recent man Ii would consider totally a psychopath–Jerry Sandusky. Look at all the GOOD and KIND things he did for kids…yea so he could get close to the chosen few he raped. Yea, Old Jerry is a GREAT GUY. I am glad that he got what will amount to a “life sentence” for him. I feel very sorry for his wife and his family as well as his victims.

There are those like my son Patrick who are “super intelligent” and have IQs up there in the 99th percentile, yet they have NO conscience and really I think in the case of some of them like Patrick, they are SO narcissistic that they can’t maintain a mask for long enough to stay out of prison for long. Prison is where they need to be because they ARE violent.

It is NOT a myth that psychopaths spoil the lives of those closest to them…as well as others. When Patrick murdered that young woman, he destroyed her family, and he destroyed his own family.

Debunking the MYTHS about sociopaths, psychopaths, Anti-social personality disorder, etc whatever you want to call the SYNDROME is difficult. Partly because I think the experts can’t agree on what to call it!~ How can the lay person “get it” when the professionals can’t agree?

Yea, they can be Mr/s Nice Person when they want to be, and think it is to their advantage, but they are willing to stab you in the back if you get in their way…either figuratively or literally.

GREAT ARTICLE steve and Hope to see more from you. I don’t think you can exhaust this subject of the “myths.”


I wanted to ask about the passive-aggressive person. Is passive-aggression typical of psychopaths or are they more inclined to be active (as opposed to passive) because that is how they get their kicks? Aggression is a form a violence.

How often is passive-aggressive behavior linked with psychopaths? Would it be even be considered? In other words, if I walked in describing a lot of passive-aggressive behavior on the part of someone, how likely would the possibility of a psychopath be considered?

I liked your point that abusers do not abuse 24/7, drunks don’t drink 24/7 etc. That is something that Al-Anon emphasizes, i.e., that the alcoholic is nice some of the time and is not drunk all of the time either. You can even be an alcoholic without ingesting alcoholic (dry drunk.) You cannot point to separate things if you want to recover; you need to take the complete picture into consideration.

Regarding Annie’s comments about gender, Hare and Babiak discuss in “Snakes in Suits” how females psychopaths exploit the gender expectations/assumptions of females to do their deeds.

I agree that work is needed to expose that females are just as capable of being psychopaths as males (I have two of them in my family of origin.)

I bristle over statements like, “What mother DOESN’T love her child?” (have you got a couple of days) and “We’re sisters!” just because you both happen to be females. Isn’t that the same sort of thing as declaring somebody your soul mate because you’re both of the opposite sex?

There are so many shows on cable these days about women insulting women, screaming and swearing at them, plotting revenge etc. How many of these are psychopaths? (For the record, I can’t stand these shows. They are so demeaning to females.)

Male Ps are often portrayed as going after females, unless it is something to do with business when people can accept that there are male Ps destroying careers and siphoning off money. That always strikes me as more gender-neutral as opposed to male Ps going after males.

In other words, pretty much Ps are typically portrayed as heterosexual males going after heterosexual females and nothing could be further from the truth. It is a myth that needs to be exposed for the lie that it is and removed from the public’s mind.

The sexual stereotypes do nobody any favors.

Women, after all, are expected to be all loving, forgiving, and keeping the family together, right?

Homosexuals of either sex can do to their partners or family members everything that heterosexual Ps can do to theirs.

In certain quarters, women are not only expected to be nice and compliant, that is considered an ideal. So who is going to deduce that there are female Ps who will take what they want because they feel entitled to it despite how unentitled they may be to whatever?

Speaking of Ps in both genders and providing examples of what the respective genders can do as Ps would help in getting rid of the predominant myths.

I don’t see using only the male gender as a thing of convenience. It isn’t a he-she thing. Those monsters come in both sexes and will adapt to our expectations of normal, nice behavior to ruin us.

Just some food for thought.


Steve, thank you for this outstanding article.

Are the myths simply embedded beliefs? I was raised to believe in the “goodness of humanity” and that everyone deserves the “benefit of the doubt.” I also was raised with an extremely pronounced shame-core, so my interpretation of those beliefs were always very skewed.

But, I wonder why it’s such a challenge for most of us to process the fact that spaths are devoid of conscience or remorse. I mean, it’s a fact. But, the fact is overridden by my erroneous beliefs….

At any rate, thank you very, very much for this oustanding article.

Brightest blessings

As an aside, whether it’s “HE,’ “SHE,” or “IT,” it all applies. Only the methods are altered by gender, NOT the pathology.


Dear Steve

Thank you for this article. I believe you are RIGHT ON.

I had another encounter with my spath. He mentioned a number of things that I know were true – news in the world, things I know he was doing in his free time, various facts – and then he threw in another comment that was based on his emotion. The comment could have been interpreted any which way. Which was exactly the point.

When you do pilates or yoga you’re taught to strengthen your CORE, so when you lean this way, or do that, you have a strong foundation from which to bend and move.

The SPATH, by comparison, has no emotional core. So whatever he says is based on where the wind is blowing at any particular moment. To the left, to the right, whatever.
it blows in the wind.

If you try to understand it, the only think you CAN understand is that IT IS A LIE because HE IS A LIE.



This has been one of the most revealing articles from my point of view which I have read here. I was in a relationship with a spath (didn’t know anything about this personality type until I found this site about a year ago and what a revelation and relief it was). Everything in your observations I can personally relate to. My spath was very kind, never abusive, highly intelligent, looked after me in every way. He was quite controlling in a very subtle way and I found myself doing and agreeing to things which I would never have believed possible. He was very stable for about 6 years and then it all kicked off when one of his ‘lady friends’ turned up unannounced. He just sat there and let it all unravel without a word. Next day it was as if nothing had happened and I asked him to leave. From then on he was like a different person. When I was with him he spent time in prison for a large financial fraud which he assured me was really down to his business partner – this all happened before I met him. I believed him, I had no cause not to. Latterly I found an article on the internet about a man who had invested all his life savings in one of his schemes, and having lost all his money this poor man committed suicide. When I confronted him with this information he just shrugged his shoulders and never made a comment. I was shocked to say the least. He used to tell me he was highly strung like his mother and at an early age had made an effort to change this personality trait. I used to tell him latterly if he had enough self awareness to do this surely he could change other less pleasant aspects of his personality. He did not. Everyone liked him. He is very genial and plausible. Money is his driving force. I could not reconcile any aspects of his personality and behaviour just as you described. He has two sons whom he does not know and I kept telling him he should maintain contact and he always refused, saying they would be better off without him. This I now understand, although I could not at the time, and I think it confirms he knows exactly what he is. When we split I was so devastated I started keeping notebooks. On reading these now the recurring words are soul mates, no empathy, liar, cheat, alien, deceit and the like. Now I know what he is about I feel much better and that it was nothing to do with me. He will be whatever he needs to be as a means to an end. He owes me vast amounts of money which I will never see. Life with him certainly was an adventure. I do not feel sorry for him but do pity him. I think one day he will probably be murdered by a lover, a brother, a husband or a father. I have given up trying to explain to others what he is like – they would not believe me. But neither would I if someone had told me when I met him, Thank you for your article.


Hi Jinty I don’t know if you are new here on LF or what, but yeah, it sounds like you met a spath. I am sorry for what brought you here.

My experience is somewhat similar – my spath has a very polite demeanor and a professional approach – excellent grammar – he’s a polished banker – and is evil as all can be. He too knew he was a sociopath, and said, like yours did, that he fears being near his children, that they’re better off without him.

It took me a long time to really grasp it – connecting dots, finding this site, connecting more dots. No empathy, a liar, constant deceit.

I have not found any friend or relative who GETS what I am talking about except for my friends here on Lovefraud.

I did find that my neighbor “liked” LF on Facebook, and it turns out her ex-husband was a spath. But finding people who really get it are few and far between.


I am having a particularly hard day – my spath came back and now I am grieving again – not so much grieving that he’s gone, as grieving that he is what he is. So sad.



So weird. Mine also said his family would be better off without him. They know.


Louise, I dont think they “know” that they’re sociopaths. They just “know” that other human beings are disposable and that they are entitled. Such a statement as someone’s “family would be better off without” him was a PITY ploy. It’s spathspeak for, “Isn’t that sad?! Don’t you want to make ME feel as if I’m worthwhile?”

I’m very sensitive to the pity ploys, now. A lot of verbage that doesn’t “make sense” is a red flag, but when someone has a sob story, I respond with, “Aw, that’s so sad,” and watch to see if they take that “pity” and run with it.

I have put OxD’s observation into a personal mandate: watch people in their “natural” environment. Watch and listen. I don’t say much, anymore, outside of “shooting the breeze” with customers. But, I keep it quiet and observe.

Brightest blessings

Ox Drover


I am so sorry that you have had such experience to “qualify” you for our “club” but the support you receive here and the knowledge will help you recover. Knowledge not just about them but about yourself and why you stayed, believed the lies…even when there was evidence that it was a lie.

That’s such a difficult thing to accept…I believed the lie when I saw the evidence it was a lie. BOY OH BOY was that hard for me. Still is, but it was so important that I realize what I had done. It wasn’t my “fault” that I believed the lie, I believed the lie because I LOVED SOMEONE and I WANTED to believe it because the truth was so painful.

Now we face the pain…we start the recovery process…it WILL get better I promise you. God bless. Glad you found lovefraud!



Maybe they don’t ALL know they are sociopaths, but mine sure did. He told me (in a very round about way) over and over again, never directly but left HUGE hints – breadcrumbs -everywhere – obvious breadcrumbs.

And every time I DIRECTLY told him he suffered from PD’s and was a sociopath, and a schizod he didn’t argue with me.

If somebody called YOU a spath, wouldn’t you flip out?



YUPPER -I have said this so many times…along with “How can he do this?? How can he say that?”

Now with a few years experience under my belt – not to mention a super-hero counselor I say – No surprise there !I expected it. It’s who he is and what he does .

Sure I miss the GOOD guy he was now and then -likely will for a long time . But I know he wasn’t real. He can’t hurt me too much anymore -the financial end of our dealings is coming to a close and he is falling apart. No work, no money , and now no place to live – has to find one. He blames on me of course .

The way he hurts me now is through our 2 children.
Clings to our son like a golden child and negatively effecting his 14 yr old mind. Pretty much gave up on our daughter cause she doesn’tkiss his butt and calls it as she sees it.

So these days he wreaks his havoc through them and it breaks my heart.

It’s who he is and all because HE CAN !!!!!

Me and the kids are just getting by because of him …….but he screams at me it is all my fault.

He lied, schemed, affairs ,took money,lied about his earnings/money,bad investments, -too much to list. And it’s all my fault ……sure it was …cause I trusted him.

Great article STEVE – going through some turmoil and needed this right now !!!!

WELCOME BACK…….your wisdom is always insightfuland right on time !!!!!



I haven’t been on this site in awhile, but I found myself wondering how things were going for you today. Lo and behold, I log on and find a posting by you. Anyhow, I hope your life continues moving in the direction you want for you and your kids.

I agree with everything you say. Oddly enough, I’ve just had this experience with a colleague who works in one of our midwest offices.

When I first encountered this guy, it was in a professional capacity. That relationship worked out fine. After awhile we became phone friends and realized we were both gay. Still continued along as a perfectly fine phone friend.

Where things began to turn was early last summer. He came to town on business and we got together for dinner. He made a pretty obvious pass over dinner, which I sort of good naturedly brushed off and chalked up to too much vino.

Anyhow, I guess I let my S-radar down. Things would be going along perfectly fine and then he’d start with the moving in and withholding behavior. I found myself wondering what the hell I had done to tick him off and missed the nice guy I thought I had become friendly with.

The final straw came the last few days. I was going out to his office on business and figured I’d spend the weekend in his town and see a few old friends. He sort of moved in fast and suggested we hang out and suggested I crash at his place. Don’t know where the hell my head was, but I initially agreed to this. Then he went into full S mode, moving in, going dark – what I ultimately realized was a full-blown mind fuck. I guess because he wasn’t as obvious as my S-ex, I wasn’t on top of my game.

In any case, I’ve sat there and thought back on things he told me – of course every past relationship of his fell apart because of the other’s part. The fact that he thought nothing of taking off for weekends to go skiing or the beach without bothering to tell them seems to escape him.

So, at the moment I’m feeling sort of stupid because of getting taken in, and sort of sad, because I miss the person I thought he was. It’s like you said – it is what he is and what he does.

In any case, thanks for the insights. Good to see you back on the boards. And keep moving forward.



I am glad you are back. Every time you are, it seems as though I missed you.

Sounds like you had a run in with a spath.

Can I ask you for clarification of the behavior you describe as “moving in and withholding” and then “moving in and going dark”.

Can you please elaborate what you think he was doing, why, how that relates to being a spath?

I do have my suspicions, as Ithink my spath does the same thing but have not heard anybody else on this site describe this behavior.

Thank you Matt,


it’s always nice to get an update on your life. But sorry you encountered another one.

You probably know by now that spaths are neither gay nor straight. They are equal opportunity opportunists. 🙂
Once he was sure that you were gay, then he was gay too! He mirrored you. Spaths don’t care, they just want sex because it’s a way to dominate.

I think it may be safer to trust men who do not hide that they are gay. Not even in a professional setting. I think that a man or woman who is out, is more likely to be honest, than one who seems to be in the closet. Like my exspath and my closeted gay frienemy were. Lies are lies. Liars are liars.

Ox Drover

Welcome home, Matt,

Well, it is always disconcerting when a “friend” makes a pass at you and you push it back and they keep on coming….

Are you still in your relationship with the guy from NY? Did this guy know that (assuming you are)? Even if you aren’t after the first “No thanks” he should have backed off.

Ah well, live and learn. I guess no matter how much we know about them it is like Bob Hare said “all the inmates try to “borrow’ money from me, the one who actually gets it is the psychopath.” LOL I guess if Bob Hare gets conned, we can be too and not hit ourselves over the head too badly.

Again, welcome back. Don’t stay gone so long we miss you!


Matt, long time no read – it’s good to “see” you, but I’m sorry to read of your experiences.

To clarify, were you referring to the “withold / reward” thing? I “get” that, 100%, and it sometimes takes me a little while to clearly see it, but once I do, it’s almost like learning about a magician’s secret when I wasn’t supposed to find out about it. Once I can identify that’s what is going on, I am finally able to shut it down and kind of experience some ‘Atta Girl” moments.

Athena, yeah……I see what you’re saying. Now, you can wonder what kind of person would SAY things like that about themselves?! What type of person feels compelled to reiterate what a nice person they are, and (often, in the same breath) assert how dangerous they are?!

I am very, VERY cautious about any individual that asserts either: good person, or; one to be avoided. A good friend once pointed out that someone who doesn’t have an agenda doesn’t NEED to constantly “reassure” people that they’re a “good person.” And, the flip side is the “dangerous” assertion. It’s all pretty nuts, but a huge “tell,” absolutely.

The exspath was always very quick to point out character traits of other people. Very subtly, he would cause me to question other people in terms of THEIR agendas. At the time, it never ran through my mind that he was actually causing me to question my own judgement – a subtle form of gaslighting, to be sure. Everyone was suspect, and HE was really the only one that I should trust.

Wow… about connecting the dots?! LMAO!!!!

Brightest blessings

Jeez Truth, that is EXACTLY what my spath did!
they are all alike.


Skylar, one way or the other, they all follow the exact same patterns of behavior. Oh, they may all have various means to execute their tactis, but they all use the SAME techniques, don’t they? I mean, literally, if I go back and read the archived articles on this site (as well as others) and compare the horror stories to my own, they all do the exact same things, just in a different order (sometimes) and using various methods.

UGH…..I’m so hypervigilant that it’s almost comical, now. And, after last night’s conversation, it was clear that my employer is, at the very least, a malignant narcissist.

Oddly enough, as disturbing as the conversation was, it was a complete validation that my instincts had been trying to communicate with my “feelings,” all along. I “knew” that something wasn’t kosher, but I pushed my instincts aside and chose to believe that she “deserved the benefit of the doubt” because everyone LIKED her, so much. Well, well, well…

Brightest blessings! 😀


Hey MATT !

How are you , guy ? So nice of you to reach out ! Sorry to hear of your experience – seems we are surrounded. BBQ is hopefully under contract, Pa property too. Just got an offer on our marital home – hopefully that goes too. Me and the kids will move 3 blocks to the newer house but at least it is away from the girlfriend next door. If N stays in the immediate area I don’t know what I will do. We have lost pretty much all the money we had over our 26 years – he had so many liens, bad investments, went over the top spending on himself . All the money he made that I never knew about till the divorce – gone. Happy ending -gone. My financial future for me and the kids – pretty scarey at my age .

My son is overwhelmed with worrying where DADDY is going to live. He can’t stand the thought of N moving in with G/F – son can only take small doses of her so what would happen with parenting time ? Son is so sad at dad hitting what we call rock bottom. Truthfully, I’ve cried a few tears myself and not sure why. I do feel sad myself – not sure what the right word is – to see someone I loved and my kids’ father landing in a very bad place . This is all a result of his decisions and doing things behind my back because he knew I would have put on the brakes. It’s just F’n hard to watch. Yet, he could bounce back if he works hard enough . In construction you can make as much money as you want to work. Yes- opportunity has to be there but he has experience in lots of areas. Me- my paycheck is it – and hope I keep my own job. I’ve gotta raise the kids.

My daughter has started college – county college – but it is what I can afford. She also got a little scholarship money at graduation for writing about her experiences with N dad, her surgeries and how hard things have been for her. Her writing was overwhelming !!!! Every little bit helps.

Her relationship with N-dad continues to be horrible. He overlooked her for his birthday dinner last week because he knew she wouldn’t go with the G/F. She didn’t go to her cousins bridal shower last week because N-dad took the G/F .
He should have driven his daughter- she feels he wants nothing to do with her . He is such an azz-really – he is missing out on one hell of a kid!!! And he makes like she is a demon ….just so he can feel better.

Ok – so that’s a snipit of what’s happening here.
Where are you these days? Job ? Relationship ?
Inquiring minds here want to know !!!!
Bless you Matt – you are a kind soul !!!!



I am going to disagree a bit with you and I hope you don’t mind. I believe they do know there is something wrong with them. I do agree they don’t know they are sociopaths (they probably don’t even know what that word truly means), but they KNOW they are not normal. Mine even said he was different.

I hope you are having a good day today. It’s another day to heal and learn for us.



What I was driving at in the moving in and withholding or moving in and going dark is where this guy would be really charming. He’d call and talk about what was going on in his life. Example – his horrible dating life. But, and this is the big But, he’d scatter a few details here and there – just enough to draw me in – and then cut it off with “oh, we’ll have to talk about this when we get together.” Or by going dark I mean he’d call, or leave a message for me to call him, and then suddenly the calls aren’t returned, or I’d get an email about how busy he is at work, but he’ll be at his desk tomorrow and I should call. So, I’d call, and of course no pick up. Sort of a form of crazy making behavior.
Actually, what it is is a form of control. And as anyone on this site can testify, Spaths are all about control. As I realized, I’ve been down this path before, but I guess I got a little too comfortable in not keeping my eyes open.

As for life in general, I’m still going through NY withdrawal. Still seeing NY guy, but the strain of nonstop commuting back and forth is beginning to take its toll. I finally decided that I couldn’t dictate his behavior (i.e. step up the job search and move your backside down here now). What I did realize I could do to break this feeling of being in a nonstop holding pattern was to take control of my own life. Tonight I’m going to a meeting of a ski club I tracked down. And I’ve started to reach out to friends and colleagues for introductions to people they think I might enjoy getting to know or organizations they think I”d be interested in. I finally decided I had to make a life for myself – I hope my partner will join that life, but I finally decided that a life that revolved around work, the gym and my house was pretty empty. When I announced this to partner, he basically tossed it back at me as this was my way to going out to have an affair. Mind you I haven’t done anything of the kind since I moved down here. I also decided that since I hadn’t done anything wrong and had no plans to do anything wrong, I wasn’t going to be guilted/blackmailed into continuing the status quo. So, wish me luck as I start out creating a new life that isn’t contingent on somebody else.

kim frederick

You go, Matt. You are making the right decision in taking control of your life….and living it in the now, and making yourself happy. Good for you.

Ox Drover


I agree that spending your life on “hold” because your partner doesn’t seem all that eager to move to where you are in DC seems to indicate to me at least that you are the more invested in the relationship. Since I believe it was agreed when you moved that HE WOULD FOLLOW. Well, it’s been a couple of YEARS now I think hasn’t it. Well, if he REALLY wanted to follow he would have done so.

Since you have TOLD him you are going to MAKE A LIFE for yourself, and are not doing this “behind his back” then I think you are behaving in an honorable and upright way.

I’m sorry that relationship didn’t bear the test of “time” long term, but shhiat happens you know, and at least you haven’t had to bail him out of jail! LOL

I do hope that you can find someone who does work out LONG term, but Matt, like I have come to believe about myself…even if I never find that “special lover” I HAVE A GOOD LIFE WITHOUT ONE.


Louise, LOL!!! You’re “allowed” to disagree! 😀 I take no offense, seriously.

Perhaps, they “know” that something is different about themselves with respect to empathetic people, but I don’t believe that they know that their choices are malicious, although I have heard people describe themselves using “narcissist,” which is a very, very odd thing way to describe one’s Self, IMHO.

The exspath “knows” that he’s “different.” But, he believes that he’s superior rather than what he truly is.

Matt, I have several gay friends who have a very difficult time meeting safe and emotionally safe potential partners. One recently (in the past year) got his first computer, ever, and decided to get onto some internet dating sites, immediately, to find a partner. He’s approaching 50, and he’s a wonderful, amazing man, but I’m concerned that he’s getting involved with a predator. There’s nothing I can do but support him.

I’m so sorry that you had your experiences with that person, but you at least had the good wisdom to recognize the “Red Flags” before things became intense. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Brightest blessings


This article says everything I have learned on here and more… I have been trying “to Make Sense” of my boyfriend’s “behavior” for 2 1/2 years… and you have put it wonderfully.. as “it just doesn’t make the Sense that I want it to make”… and NEVER WILL……. Thank you!


Also to CallmeAthena: No Emotional Core? I love that.. that is exactly what a Spath doesn’t have!


Great article. So true!


My question for Steve or anyone on here is…..why do we want to believe in them? Why do we have the “WTH” moments with them? Why don’t we run at the first sign of “this isn’t normal”? What is it about “us” that keeps us attached to the spath?

Everyone that knows me, knows that I am an independent, vocal and smart woman, and yet I kept thinking after 9 years of push and pull behavior by the spath, that it could work out if he would just…this, or just that. My eyes have been opened and yet my mind is tortured.



Yes, they have no emotional core. That’s why the spath can turn to you and say “I love you!” fully convinced that he does. And then he can turn around and say to the other woman “I love you!”, being fully convinced that he does. The words have no meaning to him. He is wearing a mask, and has no conscience to call upon him to stop, and be honest and true.

It makes me sick.


Glad he’s gone!

Can’t believe they exist! Who knew? I sure as shit didn’t know. I thought bad guys were only in movies!


I too become frustrated when men are reffered to as psychopaths. It covers both genders. My mother was a psychopath who abused my father in the most horrific manner and my eldest son is now in a relationship with a very violent and incidious female psychopath. It’s like watching a female child playing with dolls but the dolls are real people. Unfortunately men in this situation don’t look for help the same way women do.
I also think many of the posts I’ve read empowers psychopaths. We believe they are dangerous because they are deceitful liers but the real danger is that so many people believe them.
They lie and try to contol other people’s lives because they don’t have an emotional life of their own. They do it to survive.
When we talk about psychopaths or sociopaths we are talking about the walking dead. They are like empty boxes filled with other peoples thoughts, feelings, emotions, achievments etc. There’s nothing there. Realistically they are people that barely exist. This makes them completely dependent on other people. If we all could see who they were they would have to ressurect their own emotions or die. For that reason they become intensley controlling. When they start to lose control over someone they depend on they try to destroy them, but that is so no one can see what they are. They know if they are exposed they will have no one they can use for their fake existence.
Victims are people that at a vulnerable time in their life have allowed a psychopath or sociopath to live off theirs. To avoid this we must remember to be wary when we are vulnerable, realise that psychopaths only have power that healthy people give them. If everyone stopped believing lies there would be no psychopaths. If everyone related to a psychopath as being a psychopath they would have no where to go, so realistically they have no power at all.The people that scare me the most are the people that believe them.


schnoodle64 :

Maybe because Truthspeak’s counseling therapist is right: Feelings are not facts. Maybe we trusted our emotions too much instead of the facts we got…

Seeing the truth is torment. I can’t even watch the news anymore. Neither horror movies, documantaries about violence, nothing. Nada. It’s no longer a movie to me, I know it can happen in real life, to me as well. I watch the politicians, documentaries on fishing quotas, I look down on my own road in life, doesn’t really matter what it is, the truth is not the illusion we used to live in. We are harsly awakening to what the h*ll is really going on in the world.

Lone Wolf

Dear LF friends

Super article. Agree with every word.

Guys I really need some support and advice and at short notice too! It is now 7.41pm here in the UK.

I only found out yesterday that tomorrow I face my spath sister in a hastily arranged mediation. The three day court case should the mediation fail is in two and a half weeks. Of course even if we sign an agreement, doesn’t mean she will keep to it!

There has been just under 3 years worth of awful litigation, funded by the State thus far, to be paid back out of any winnings.

Spath has lied and manipulated and threatened of course. She has sole use of our jointly owned home which she has excluded me from – but this cannot be proved. Despite being healthier and wealthier she is standing on ceremony and saying she cannot be asked to sell as she is a pensioner and has lived there a long time. This is true (I should point out she is only JUST a pensioner and very healthy compared to me) but she has other options than selling but cannot be legally forced to use them, only to sell and I have been advised that the Court are likely to say that she cannot be made to move and that I should be kept out of my money until she dies. BUT there is a chance the Court will grant the sale which is why she MAY settle.

As a result of her spathery I have been in debt, suicidal and at continual risk of homelessness or imprisonment as a result of her actions for many years.

There is not time to tell you in which ways and Donna has suggested I not give details in case she is cyberstalking me. I have had a couple of consultations with her but she is away this week.

I resolved to stick to the no contact rule and not meet with the spath and her spath barrister and spath lawyer in the shared room at the outset as is normal to protect myself but the lawyer taking my mediation has said it is better to meet all in the same room and show I am not intimidated. I have agreed as I take his point. But this is scary enough!

I have only found out today that because the case has reached a certain price point that my law firm are legally entitled (not morally) to take most of the money I MAY get should settlement succeed. Also the guy taking the mediation, whilst the senior partner in the firm, admits he knows nothing about the case and is starting from scratch. Not inspiring. He seems to be sympathetic to my sister – again not helpful.

Basically today they have been trying to bully me online to accept that most of any money I get will have to go to them.

They should be being supportive the night before, not pressuring me this way. Basically they said at the outset of the case it shold be about £10k to settle out of court, now they are saying £73k! My sisters fees to date at private rates are £11k!

Something wrong somewhere!

So tomorrow I must battle the spath and my lawyer!

As the fab “Legal Abuse Syndrome” book suggests, it doesn’t matter that I am subject to homelessness, it doesn’t matter that I have made several recent suicide attempts, it doesn’t even seem to matter that she has threatened, tried to overrule judges in earlier hearings, lied about having received evidence etc.

She STILL manages to play the victim!

Everything – my so-called lawyer, the law as it seems to stand, and spath sister all seem to be lined up against me and against, truth, justice, reason and even rationality.

I have a nice partner but no other family and spath sister has salted away and lined up everyone who ever knew us both to give evidence against me.

Noone believes me and I am unheard!

Only my partner and God have got me thus far – and LF! I had a nice person say a prayer for me on retreat last week which meant a lot. She said there is also a force for good – God! and that it is not all bleak even tho the evil makes me feel it so. In the couple of day since then I have done really well in looking after myself a bit more even with the mediaton and trial upcoming! But today was horrific. I cannot even begin to think about how horrific tomorrow may be – 9 hours of battling 3 spaths in opposition and my own “side” wanting to take every penny I get and bullying me the day before.

I do not expect any solutions as such from anyone here – it is too complicated, too short notice etc. – tho I will be getting advice on my position as to costs after tomorrow if I can find any one to advise!

There is only one good thing about tomorrow and that is that it is so bloody awful it is almost clarifying. There is no expectation of any hope and mercy from anyone present.

I would just like to walk away totally and accept the fact I may just get no justice etc and end up maybe having to live rough but the understanding I have is that the law firm will hound the fuck out of me if I do that!

My hope for myself comes only from a few fab Biblical refs such as some of the Psalms,.. (stuff about being attacked on all sides, only refuge is God etc) and Daniel in the lions den. So I am not alone in being alone!

I would just like anyone who sees this in time – or after as this will all obviously rumble on! – just wish me some words of support, and without needing to know the details of the spathery and abuse, just believe that I have suffered and that this should not have been so.

And that even if I only come out of this with my damaged soul, that soul still counts for something!


lone wolf

Lone Wolf

Bump as would REALLY appreciate some kind words.

Seems to me that the spaths and greedy advantage takers like my lawyer have all the cards…so would it make things so much worse if I “went postal” ? In prison I might get more support and help! I would be dangerous so people would be bending over backwards to help me!

Don’t think I can take the room full of spaths tomorrow.

Ox Drover

Dear Lone Wolf,

I am so sorry that you have been pushed into this corner and even your own “advocates” have become your abusers. Unfortunately, with lawyers, I have found that to be true many times. Currently I have what I think is an honest one helpiing me in my attempts to keep my son in prison.

For those people here at LF who have had to face this kind of thing before I will say to you as well…think of the LOVE FRAUD MOB of people sitting there in the same room with you–all thinking positive thoughts and holding your hand. INVISIBLE TO ANYONE BUT YOU, but WE WILL BE THERE.

You are in my prayers even as I type this and will be tomorrow as well. God bless and whatever happens just keep your head up high and don’t go “postal” on them…win, lose or draw, walk out of there with your head held high and your dignity intact. In the end it will have been worth it to behave that way no matter what the outcome is. If you win don’t act happy, if you lose don’t act sad. Just a BLANK FACE! God bless. (((hugs)))

Lone Wolf,

It’s hard to give advice on your situation but I will try.

If I were you, I’d fire those lawyers. Reschedule the meeting, do whatever you have to do, but don’t go in with those lawyers. First thing tomorrow, get an appt with a different lawyer and find out how to get that meeting rescheduled. He will want the money too, so he’ll find a way.

Second: Stop telling people you attempted suicide. And stop attempting suicide. Why? because that is actually what your spath wants. Everything else she does or takes, is just a side benifit of watching you in pain.

How to fix your attitude: Stop taking it personally. I know it’s very very hard. My friend told me about a book, called “The 5th agreement.” I’ve not read it, but it sounds excellent. I think it might help you to not take your spath’s behavior personally.

Imagine, Lone Wolf, if there had been no inheritance at all. Would you be mad that you didn’t get it? No, you would just say, “well, there was none.”

Material things are MacGuffins. We attach emotional significance to them and then they suddenly have meaning and we want and need them. We chase after them, and we care so much that it feels as if our souls are attached to them. That’s because they are. When your soul is attached to material things, you are not only in this world but you are of it. Jesus tells us to “be in this world but do not be OF this world.

It isn’t easy and I’m not saying I’m so above it all that I don’t care about material things. What I AM saying is that when you let go of the attachment to anything, then it becomes much easier to attain it. You will be detached and see things more clearly.

It is fine to look for and obtain material things, just don’t be emotional about it. When you are, you become a target for a spath.



You got my interest with the 5th Agreement book so I looked it up and found that there was a book before it called the Four Agreements and here they are:

Wow, this may truly change my life if I can just get these four agreements into my head. I think I already do #1. I am pretty diplomatic and don’t say anything unless I mean it. Number 2 is my biggie…I need to realize once and for all to not take things personally and spath was a huge lesson in that!!! This is really helping me realize that it was not me at all. It is all him and his troubles. I just happened to be in his path. Sad, but true. And God let it happen for a reason.

I also have a big problem with Number 3 I think. I do tend to assume a lot without asking questions, but that is going to stop, too. This could truly be life changing for me. Of course all this stuff takes a daily conscious effort, but if we are willing to work at it, I can see it changing lives.

The 5th agreement also sounds awesome. If I would have just had that book three years ago, I truly believe I would not have hooked up with spath. It’s all about discernment and to look behind what we are being told instead of just accepting all we are told as truth. I MUST read both of these books. Thanks, skylar!

yes my friend has read both books. I just don’t have time right now but they do sound like there is wisdom in them and I will read them next year if I can.

It seems to me that not taking the spath’s behavior personally is the same as not assuming responsibility for his shameless/shameful behavior. It isn’t our fault he is disordered. That is solely on him. (or her)

If you read the books, I’d love to hear your review on them.

I want to add that selfish people are everywhere. There are lawyers who don’t care about you. If you are dealing with lawyers, you will have to learn how to discern those.

I’ve lost a lot, financially, to the spath. But what I’ve gained is amazing. It is off the charts, amazing. You can’t put a price on wisdom. Make sure you acquire wisdom in each of your interactions with lawyers, spaths or anyone else.

The way to do this, is not to take it personally.

Lone Wolf

Thank you for posting guys!

I have the “Four Agreements..” thought it was pretty good.

For me the inheritance is about a basic level of security as opposed to materialism. To not still have this basic level could further damage my lovely relationship and dodgy health.

I don’t still feel trauma bonded to spath sister but are still daunted at her and her two spath briefs against me and only just finding out today how shit and greedy my guy is.

However there is a spiritual point at which I am willing to walk away from all this with nothing. I just don’t know how I will manage money wise.

And I am very disappointed at just how many shit and greedy people and spath types there are out there.

Haven’t had a wink of sleep despite taking a sleeper but expect i will get by on adrenaline.

The prayers and thoughts mean so much.

Thank you xxx


Can you believe this is classic spath behaviour – he got away with manipulating the court and still won's-family-says-ruling-is-unjust

Check it out


LoneWolf, I wish that I knew more about UK Law, but I don’t even have the slightest clue as to how these things “work” across the pond.

I can identify with your frustration, the threat of homelessness, the desperation, and the whole mess. It is terrible and it is part-and-parcel of spath entanglements, unfortunately. You mentioned that you have felt suicidal, and I can identify with that, as well. For whatever reason, you have made the wise decision to avoid that awful end, and I thoroughly agree that it may be a strong option to fire the current attorney firm and seek specialists who “get it.” I don’t know how that’s managed, but there ARE legal professionals that “get it,” out there – finding them is another matter.

I understand your level of anxiety – I really, really do. I’m not done with my own legal issues, yet, and it’s gotten to the point where it would be comical if it weren’t so tragic. There is something that my counseling therapist taught me that became a personal mantra for me when the anxiety becomes overwhelming: “Feelings are NOT facts.” In refernce to legal actions, this translates into: “There’s what SHOULD BE, and there’s WHAT IS. Rarely do these two things meet in Life.”

In your situation (as in mine), the spath is arguing about money. It’s not about what’s right, what they’ve done, or what they continue to do. In my situation, it’s about “equitable distribution.” Well…..LMAO!!!!!! How does a Court “distribute” when one party was literally defrauded during the marriage and nothing is left to divide “equitably?!” LOLOLOL!!! I’m literally laughing out loud at how ludicrous it is, honestly – I’m not laughing at your horrid situation!

I wish I had something better to offer, LoneWolf. The best that I can say is that your ability to remain in the present, avoid predictions, and accept the possibility that mediation will not be fruitful will be helpful in your personal emotional recovery. We will never be “made whole” after our experiences. This is a fact. There is no amount of money that will buy back my sense of joy, security, physical health, home, vehicle, former job, or anything else that was destroyed by the spath. I’m walking away with a damaged soul, and that’s pretty much it. I have a choice to accept this, or not. If I don’t make the choice to accept this fact, I can remain full of anger, anxiety, hatred, and self-loathing. If I choose to accept this fact, I can focus on making ends meet and repairing my Self (Self = soul).

My most sincere blessings of courage and strength are with you, LoneWolf. And, I would suggest that you consider firing this law firm – it’s an option.


Schnoodle64, it’s termed “cognitive dissonance.”

Yes, a person may be independent and emotionally healthy, but a spath who is trolling has the ability to hone in on ANY vulnerability that a target may have. They are drawn to the “strength” and “independence” because they HATE it. They are drawn to the empathy and compassion because they HATE it. They hate what they, themselves, will never have, if that makes sense. Then, once they have worked their way in, they dismantle those values and qualities that their targets maintained as personal traits.

“Cog/diss” is a recognized emotional attempt to fit someone’s behaviors into OUR system of beliefs. For instance, I had been convinced by the exspath by his own assertions that he would “NEVER abuse (me) like that” throughout the marriage. Well, I was never physically or verbally “abused” and I can count out about 8 actual shouting arguments that we had during the 14 year relationship. So, when he began to discard me, I kept giving excuses and bogus “reasons” for his distance and obvious lack of concern. It never occurred to me that, once my money had run out, he no longer had any use for me. MY mind was telling me, “Look, I would never treat someone that I loved badly, so I’m NOT being treated badly because anybody that I loved would not DO things to harm me.”

Cog/diss happens ALL of the time. When we watch the news about a mother who drowns children in a vehicle (Susan Smith) – SURELY, there must be a “reason” for her actions, because we would NEVER do something so heinous! We attempt to fit other people’s choices and behaviors into our system of beliefs, and it creates an almost physical discomfort to see the choices and behaviors for what they are: choices and behaviors!

Hope that helps to some degree!

Brightest blessings

Lone wolf,
get rid of the relationshit that depends on your finances.

The universe is giving you a wakeup call. It’s time to stop feeding parasites.

I know that you need money. We all do, unfortunately. But you are depending on this settlement and it is not dependable. so imagine what it would be like if it never existed and go from there.



Omigosh, you are absolutely spot-ON!!! A “settlement” is never predictable, and unless (and, UNTIL) it is in one’s hand, it does not exist. It……does……not……exist. I cannot recall the number of times that the exspath spent money that he was “counting on” that never came to fruition!

Parasites – they are defined as organisms that feed off of hosts. Whether it’s money or blood, parasites carry DISEASE and we do not “need” to maintain a human parasite for any reason under the sun.


Lone Wolf,

Good luck with whatever You choose to do today, whether it be canning your attorneys (thus rescheduling your meeting), or attending the meeting (doing just fine in the process). You can do Whatever You need to do. Be Selfish and put Yourself first, doing what is Right for You.


Truthspeak ~

Thank you for the reply. That must be why my eyes see what he is doing, but my mind cannot comprehend. I keep telling myself, how can someone who says they love me, do the things he does to me. Nothing physical, but mental and emotional crazy talk. I hate the fact that my mind is nothing but mush after being with Spath for 9 years. Do I love him? NOPE! That went out the window the 4th time he walked out on me. And I am trying not to think about the “why’s” of this, or “how’s”. But since he has been gone, my blood pressure has returned to normal and I do not feel like a stranger in my own home. Married for 23 years before meeting the Spath and never had the feeling in my marriage that I had with Spath. That tells me that there is something wrong with him and not me.

Healing at a snails pace, but healing none the less,




This is a good article, so, thank you. They APPEAR normal, but they show themselves to be anything but. This whole life experience has taught me plenty. One thing that I’ve learned is to never ASSUME anything about anyone, having made assumptions about the ex-spath (and other people), in the end being proved wrong.

Lovefraud is being upgraded. Comments and forum posts are temporarily disabled. Dismiss

Send this to a friend